Understand What These HVAC Ratings Mean

Understand What These HVAC Ratings Mean

Understand What These HVAC Ratings Mean Heating and cooling equipment and related products such as air filters are given independent ratings on their efficiency to make it easier for consumers to compare different models. To help you make smart decisions about air filter and HVAC component efficiency, here’s what some commonly-heard HVAC ratings mean:

Minimum Efficiency Rating Value (MERV)

HVAC air filters are given MERV ratings that range from 1 to 16, and higher-rated filters are more efficient at capturing airborne particles. It may seem logical to choose a filter with the highest MERV possible, but these more-efficient filters can severely restrict your HVAC system’s airflow and damage your equipment. When selecting a filter, you should check with your equipment manufacturer or a trusted HVAC pro on the ideal MERV range for your system.

Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER)

Heat pumps and A/Cs receive a SEER rating to describe their cooling efficiency. This rating represents the amount of cooling a unit produces in relation to its total energy use for a single season. Currently, SEERs range from of a minimum of 14 to a highly-efficient 30. Higher-rated equipment is more expensive, but it uses less energy, so the higher price tag is offset by lower lifetime operating costs.

Heating Seasonal Performance Factor (HSPF)

If you’re looking at air source heat pumps, you can judge the heating efficiency of different models by comparing the HSPF ratings, which can range from a low of 8.2 to a most-efficient 13. An HSPF rating is similar to SEER: it tells you a unit’s heat output compared to its single-season energy consumption.

Average Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE)

The heating efficiency of gas furnaces is described with an AFUE rating, which can range from 90 (least efficient) to 98.5 (most efficient). Comparing AFUE ratings can help you judge how much of your energy budget actually goes toward heating. For instance, a furnace with a 90 percent AFUE wastes 10 cents of every dollar, while 90 cent’s worth gets converted into heat.


If you need expert advice when comparing HVAC ratings, contact the Peachtree City home comfort pros today at Powers Heating & Air.


Our goal is to help educate our customers in Peachtree City, Georgia and surrounding areas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Guide or call us at 770-487-2040. 

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